Ireland's complicated relationship with drink
Published 18/04/2015 | 02:30
Alcohol is so deeply ingrained in Irish life that it pervades every aspect of our culture and our daily lives.
At one level, it helps make us the interesting people we are - talkers, musicians, artists. On the other hand, however, it can lead to unpleasant anti-social behaviour and random violence.
There is hardly a family in Ireland that is not in one way or another touched by alcoholism. There is also a cultural ambivalence toward those who don't drink, and the idea that they are either alcoholics or there is something fundamentally wrong with them. Well-intentioned people, who should have more sense, attempt to foist drink on people who don't want it, like Mrs Doyle forcing a cup of tea on guests in the parochial house in 'Father Ted'.
There is no easy conclusion about the Irish and alcohol. But it is a endless subject, from the dominance of the drinks companies and the involvement of the alcohol industry in trying to wean us away from binge drinking. All aspects of our fraught relationship with alcohol will be explored in the Irish Independent over the coming days - a fascinating insight into a dangerous liaison.